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Guidelines and Information for Traveling in the US and Abroad

  • ⇒ Domestic Travel
  • ⇒ International Travel

Meal Guidelines

  • Actual meal expenses should be claimed and may not exceed the daily allowance for each destination.
  • Meal tips should be included in the meal claim and may not be claimed as a separate expense. 
  • Claims up to the full maximum are allowed on full days of travel
  • On partial days of travel, allowances are prorated based upon departure and return times as defined below, allowing 20 % of the daily allowance for breakfast, 30% for lunch, and 50% for dinner. These individual allotments are defined for the purpose of determining the correct daily allowance only.  Individual meal claims do not have to fall within these specific meal parameters.   Actual costs can be distributed among the meals in any manner as long as the total claim for each day does not exceed the maximum allowance for that day.
  • When meals are provided as part of the conference or meeting, travelers will not be reimbursed for the cost of the meal when the traveler chooses to eat outside the conference.
  • Meal costs over the maximum allowance are at the traveler’s expense.
  • Alcohol is not a reimbursable travel expense.
  • Attach a receipt for any individual meal claim of $75 or more.

In order to be reimbursed for meals as travel expenses, the traveler must be in travel status during the following time frames to qualify for individual meal reimbursements.

Departure Date Leave Prior to Return Date Arrive After Daily Allowance % each Meal
Breakfast 6:00am 8:00am 20%
Lunch 11:00am 1:00pm 30%
Dinner 5:30pm 7:30pm 50%

Travel status is defined as the time the traveler leaves their home or office until the time the traveler arrives at their home or office (not flight times).

Other Meal Situations:

  • Shared meals -- If one person paid for meals for another individual(s) these expenses should be claimed on the travel voucher of the individual who paid.  The person who did not pay should not claim an expense for that specific meal on their voucher. If the other individual(s) is a University of Iowa employee, “split” that expense on the travel voucher and provide each person’s HawkID and amount of their claim/meal.  If not a UI employee, provide their name and affiliation in the comments box of the travel voucher.
  • Taxable Meals - Meal costs reimbursed to faculty and staff for non-overnight trips are subject to withholding and reported as taxable income in accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations.
  • Business meals while in travel status. When the primary purpose of a meal is for conducting University business and other individuals are included, the names, business affiliations, and purpose of the meeting/meal must be provided. These meal claims are subject to the Food and Beverage policy   guidelines rather than  individual travel meal limits. An itemized receipt must be attached.  ↑top

Mileage

The current mileage reimbursement rates are as follows:

The rate of .28/mile is applicable if:

  • The trip is more than 100 miles and the traveler chooses to use a personal vehicle when a motor pool vehicle was available.

The rate of .56/mile is applicable in the following circumstances:

  • The round trip distance traveled is less than 100 miles
  • The round trip distance is more than 100 miles and a motor pool vehicle is requested, but is not available.
  • Use of a motor pool vehicle is not possible or not feasible (i.e. faculty or staff members are located in an area not served by campus motor pools).
  • Round trip travel to/from designated airports is greater than 100 miles and the lower airfare cost justifies use of the designated airport.  Designated airports are Moline and Des Moines.

For trip dates in the past other rates may apply

Travel Date Rate for Trips <100 Miles* Rate for Trips >100 Miles**
Beginning 1/1/14 .56/mile .28/mile
Between 1/1/13 - 12/31/13 .565/mile .283/mile
Between 7/1/11 - 12/31/12 .555/mile .278/mile
Between 5/1/11 - 6/30/11 .51/mile .255/mile
Between 1/1/11 - 4/30/11 .51/mile .19/mile
Between 1/1/10 - 12/31/10 .50/mile .285/mile

Local Mileage, Parking, and Traffic Violations

The University does not reimburse employees for mileage, parking or any other commuting costs for travel to their primary work location or between areas on the main campus where Cambus provides service. This includes employees that may have more than one primary work location which may change on a daily basis. Personal use mileage, fines and penalties for traffic or parking violations are not reimbursable.

Personal use mileage includes: visiting, site seeing, side trips and commuting between office and home.  ↑top


Frequent Flyer Miles

Frequent flyer miles earned on University Business travel are considered the property of the University of Iowa. Frequent flyer credits used towards travel on University Business, whether earned on personal or business travel, are not reimbursable as there is no cash outlay for such a transaction.  ↑top


Departmental Procurement Cards

The University of Iowa Visa Card is issued to all departments who wish to have one. Applications may be requested from the University Purchasing Department. Limits are set at the time the card is requested up to a monthly limit of $10,000 and up to a single transaction limit of $5,000. There are two card options:

  • Procurement Card with Travel - This card allows most travel expenses to be charged. It is an excellent tool for paying travel expenses as well as other departmental expenses.
  • Procurement Card without Travel - One of the departmental credit card's biggest advantages is that it offers an option of prepaying conference registration fees in a faster, more convenient way than by Voucher & Invoice. When submitting the Credit Card Voucher after payment has been made, the department must provide a copy of the registration form, traveler's name, social security number, trip dates and location of conference.

For information on obtaining a Visa Card and on what items may purchased with this card see the Procurement Card Training Manual on the Policy menu of the Procurement Card web site. ↑top


Generic Receipts

A generic receipt is any receipt that does not have a preprinted or stamped conference/hotel/vendor name and is not sufficient as proof of payment. Expenses substantiated by a generic receipt will not be reimbursed unless accompanied by additional documentation. This may include one of the following:

  • Copy of back and front of canceled check
  • Duplicate check and bank statement
  • Credit card statement
  • Letter or new receipt from conference confirming payment

Travel Assistance/Insurance

The University of Iowa offers medically based travel assistance through ZURICH TRAVEL ASSIST™ as a part of  its Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance coverage.   If you choose AD&D coverage as a part of your benefits package, you are covered by this medical and emergency assistance program.  Zurich Travel Assist  is in effect anytime you travel more than 100 miles from your home and can respond to medical and legal emergencies throughout the world.  Benefits include medical evacuation, emergency medical referral, prescription assistance, and more.  See the University Benefits AD&D Insurance page or www.zurichna.com/travelassist for more information.  Contact the UI Benefits office, 335–2676,  if you have questions or need assistance with this program.  ↑top


Consolidator Tickets

Ticket Consolidators are agencies that purchase tickets in bulk from the airline. They primarily are found in larger cities and operate solely on international travel.  However, they deal directly to most local travel agencies.  The Preferred Agencies above can purchase these deeply discounted tickets from these consolidators for you.  Quite often on tickets purchased from a consolidator, the original value of the ticket is preprinted and does not accurately reflect the actual reduced cost of the ticket.

For this reason, verification of the actual cost of these tickets is required for reimbursement. The preferable form of verification is the billing or itinerary from the travel agency showing the cost but may also be in the form of a canceled check or credit card statement showing payment to the agency. Because it is difficult to know which tickets reflect the actual cost and which ones are reduced, this verification is required on all foreign tickets purchased through non-local travel agencies, and on tickets purchased indirectly from a consolidator through a local agency. ↑top


Export Controls and International Travel

U.S. Export control laws apply to academic travelers and failure to comply can have grave consequences including civil and criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.  The U.S. export controls are grounded in three separate sets of federal regulations.  The embargo laws and regulations administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) a unit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) and the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

Export Controls can arise due to the location of the travel, the people with whom you interact while traveling, the items you take with you or ship for use while abroad and the nature of the information you take with you, even if you do not intend to share it while abroad.  For additional information about export controls generally go to:  https://research.uiowa.edu/dsp/export-controls-home

The U.S. export control regulations can be tedious and difficult to understand.  If you have any questions about what, if any, export control regulations apply to your international travel, contact the Export Control Coordinator in the Division of Sponsored Programs for assistance at 335-3582 or export-control@uiowa.edu.


Airline Open Skies Agreements - Fly America Act

The Fly America Act was enacted in 1974 to mandate the use of U.S. flag air carriers for federally funded international travel. Since the Fly America Act's enactment, innumerable changes have taken place in the airline industry. Because of this evolution, the Fly America Act and the federal travel regulations promulgated under the act have been revised to allow travelers more flexibility while remaining in compliance with the law. The Federal Travel Regulations were written in a question and answer format making them easier to understand. (If you would like to review the regulations, see the U.S. General Services Administration web site).

The Federal Travel Regulations no longer require that international tickets be "issued" by a U.S. flag air carrier or "printed" on their "ticket stock". While international flights should be on U.S. flag air carriers whenever possible, the Federal Travel Regulations now permit flights on foreign air carriers when code sharing is present. In other words, the flight is considered the same as one operated by an U.S. flag air carrier. The U.S. flag air carrier's designator code, however, must be present in the area next to the flight numbers on the airline ticket, boarding pass, or on the documentation for an electronic ticket (passenger receipt).

For example, Northwest Airlines has a code share agreement with KLM Airlines to Amsterdam. If the boarding pass (flight coupon) or e-ticket identifies a flight as NW #, the requirements of the Federal Travel Regulations would be met, even if the flight was on a KLM Airlines airplane. If however, the boarding pass (flight coupon) or e-ticket identifies the flight as a KL #, then the requirements of the Federal Travel Regulations would not be met.

What does this mean to you? If you are scheduling international travel that is federally funded, you must ensure that all flights, where possible, are scheduled on U.S. flag air carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag air carrier. To assist you in accomplishing this goal, see the list below all U.S. flag air carriers and their codes. In addition, it is highly recommended that you book your international travel through one of our Preferred Agencies Please be sure to advise them that your trip is business related and should be validated on an American carrier.

Examples of situations that are in compliance and not in compliance with the Fly America Act are available for your review by clicking on these key words. It should be noted that not all federal agencies enforce the Fly America Act with the same fervor.

There are times when an exception may be appropriate. To document the exceptions, we rely on the Fly America Act Waiver Checklist. For example, there are instances when: a U.S. flag air carrier does not provide service on a particular leg of your trip; the use of a U.S. carrier will unreasonably delay your travel time; you are involuntarily rerouted; or for medical or safety reasons, etc. Use of the waiver checklist, though not required, will help you document the reason for use of a non-U.S. air carrier when they are required. ↑top

Open Skies Agreement

The Fly America Act was recently amended by various Open Skies Agreements. At first glance, these agreements would appear to allow the use of European carriers, such as Lufthansa. However, the Open Skies Agreements are nullified if there is a city-pair agreement in effect for that city. As the General Service Agency's site says there are now 5,000 city-pair agreements, the large cities to which UI employees are most likely to travel probably are covered by a city-pair agreement. Therefore, it is most likely that a U.S. flag air carrier would still have to be used.

The General Service Administration site allows you to check to see if there is a city-pair agreement in effect. The traveler could use this site as a means of justifying the use of federal funds for a carrier from the European Union (e.g., Aer Lingus, Air France, British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic) if they could show that there was not a city-pair agreement in effect.

Federally funded "in-country" travel (e.g., Berlin to Munich) must still be on a U.S. flag air carrier if one is available.

U.S. Flag Carriers

In order for a flight to be in compliance with the Fly America Act, the code of a U.S. flag air carrier must be noted as part of the flight number on the airline ticket, flight coupon (boarding pass), passenger receipt or e-ticket. Each airline has a two letter alpha code. For example, United Airlines has a code of "UA". On an airline ticket, boarding pass or passenger receipt, this two digit code is designated just to the left of the flight number. From this list, you will be able to compare airline codes on the ticket with those on the list and thereby be able to ascertain whether or not the flight is on a US Flag air

A detailed list of U.S. flag air carriers is set forth below:

  • Airtran Airways (FL)
  • Alaska Airlines (AS)
  • America West Airlines (HP)
  • American Airlines (AA)
  • American Trans Air (TZ)
  • Continental Airlines (CO)
  • Delta Airlines (DL)
  • Frontier Airlines (F9)
  • Hawaiian Airlines (HA)
  • Midwest Express (YX)
  • Northwest Airlines (NW)
  • Southwest Airlines (WN)
  • Spirit Airlines (NK)
  • United Airlines (UA)
  • US Airways (US)

Travel Assistance/Insurance

The University of Iowa offers medically based travel assistance through ZURICH TRAVEL ASSIST™ as a part of  its Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance coverage.  If you choose AD&D coverage as a part of your benefits package, you are covered by this medical and emergency assistance program.  Zurich Travel Assist  is in effect anytime you travel more than 100 miles from your home and can respond to medical and legal emergencies throughout the world.  Benefits include medical evacuation, emergency medical referral, prescription assistance, and more.  See the University Benefits AD&D Insurance page or www.zurichna.com/travelassist for more information.  Contact the UI Benefits office, 335–2676,  if you have questions or need assistance with this program. ↑top